Women Demand Rights


Fifth Estate # 35, August 1-15, 1967

Students for a Democratic Society, a radical political organization, held a national convention in Ann Arbor recently during which they adopted a statement demanding equal rights for women, along with statements in opposition to the draft and the war in Vietnam.

The Women’s Liberation Workshop prepared the statement that demanded equal rights, equal positions of authority for competent women, birth control information and devices for all women, and literature on the subject of women’s rights.

Sound familiar? It should.

For the past four decades women have been demanding equal rights …demanding them from their living rooms and kitchens (which is why they’re still demanding). The proposals were met with much the same attitude they have always been: snickering, harassment, contempt and the eventual tolerance because the men have a vague certainty that nothing will come from it.

Barbara Burris, a Detroit feminist, feels that some good could come from the proposals, as long as the women carry the program out. “The priorities are set by the men, and the women accept them. We aren’t taken seriously or considered competent. But you’ve got to be able to define yourself. At least the proposals brought the subject out into the open.”

Miss Burris also feels that unless the women of the movement start realizing their potential and start exerting themselves, they will again be a part of a male chauvinistic society, set up by SDS.